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in smoldering fires. it's called a photoelectric detector. and even government tests show it goes off much sooner in smoky fires. watch what happens when dr. russell sets up another demonstration, this time with a photoelectric next to those three ionization detectors. with barely any smoke in the room, 17 minutes in, the photoelectric sounds the alarm. >> the photoelectric is telling us you've got a fire, get up, solve the problem, get out of the house. >> reporter: as more time passes, toxic smoke is overtaking the room. in fact, it takes another 21 minutes before any ionization detectors go off. the firefighters at the testing facility are stunned. >> i was thinking about if that was my own family and my kids trying to get out in that. and if i would have relied on the ionization, my family probably wouldn't make it out. >> reporter: photoelectric technology has been around for decades. and while the leading smoke detector companies do make photoelectric alarms, they still make most of their products without that technology. >> i think it's probably a business decision. >> reporter: the
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